We've talked before about the Instant Pot, which is by many metrics the most successful product ever launched on  Amazon.

As it launches a follow-up line of products, however, its maker is choosing a very unusual strategy.

First, the background. As you might know, the Instant Pot is sold by a small Canadian company called Double Insight. They launched with almost no marketing budget, and no outside investment.

And yet, through word of mouth and social media, and a laser like focus on Amazon at the start, they've sold millions of their 21st-century, high-tech pressure cookers.

Heck, they sold 300,000 units on Amazon Prime Day alone this year, which at a discounted $58 per unit, works out to $17.4 million in product in a single day.  (And it's up from 215,000 units the year before.) 

Moreover, Instant Pot ancillary products (including cookbooks) routinely rank at the top of multiple categories across all of Amazon. In other words, Amazon has been very good to Instant Pot.

So you might scratch your head when you hear the company's latest move.

They're launching their follow-up product, a multipurpose blender, and it's going to be available, reportedly, exclusively at Walmart.

As in, it's not even listed on Amazon, at least not at launch.

It's called the Ace 60 Cooking Blender, and its big feature is that it both blends and heats food. No reviews yet, as it doesn't actually go on sale for another two days.

As a privately held company, Double Insight doesn't report revenue, so those Amazon numbers around Prime Day are all we have to go on.

But a report from The New York Times almost two years ago suggested that 90 percent of the company's sales came from the online behemoth.

"Without Amazon, we wouldn't be here," the company's founder, Robert Wang, said at the time. 

Meanwhile, we can't know whether Instant Pot was able to negotiate special terms with Walmart, or even if it just made an internal calculation that it would simply make more sense to launch in one place.

It does make sense that the 90 percent figure from the Times story was part of the calculus, however. They're not that beholden to Amazon anymore; the original Instant Pot pressure cookers are now available at other stores, like Target and Kohls.

But as fantastic as Amazon has been to Instant Pot, it makes sense to diversify sales channels. And this Walmart-only strategy certainly forges a relationship with the retail giant, especially if the blender is anywhere near as successful a product.

As for the blender itself, well, I started writing about the Instant Pot pressure cooker as a business phenomenon long before I owned one, and similarly, I've never used the blender.

So, if you buy one and try it, you'll have to let us know what you think in the comments. But you've got a few days. It's priced at $99, and you can get it starting Sunday.

Published on: Sep 21, 2018
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